Immediately after I wrapped up shooting with Bianca, she packed up and commuted back into Manhattan to train a few more clients she had scheduled for the day. With the remaining time I had left in the studio, I cleaned up, reflected and took quick notes on things I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t necessarily plunged into renting a space to create more work for themselves.
Renting studio space can be expensive depending on where you are or it could be reasonably priced depending on who you know. So based on experience and in no particular order, here’s some tidbit of advise I wish someone would have told me before I started renting.
Scout around: Before you get excited about having found the most epic space to shoot, think not only about the ease of your commute but most importantly the commute of your model. Subways in New York are the pipeline by which the majority of people get around, so there’s been instances where I’ve overlooked how difficult it would be for someone else to reach a space simply because I’ve thought only about the ease of my commute.
Consider both ends and in the event you drive around like I do, make sure you’re aware of what the parking rules are because that’ll determine what the ideal time would be to rent the space in the first place. Once I booked a space for 10am but parking rules didn’t go into effect until 11am. Luckily the model was running late and the owner allowed me to bump up my time to 11am but that won’t always be the case without any penalty.
Don’t starve yourself: Seriously, don’t. Bring water, snacks or even a sandwich which I’ve done and munched on in between those moments where the model has stepped away to change outfit. I can assure you that when you’re in that moment of creating, you literally lose track of time and without knowing you just keep going and ultimately find yourself famished.
Buffer, Buffer: Insulate yourself with enough time before and after a shoot. Before so you can setup without rushing and after so you can clean up once the model has left. Going back to how time equates to money, you want to avoid overextending it unless you’re ok with paying extra for doing nothing but cleaning up. Learn to calculate your time.
If I’m shooting someone for 2hrs between 10am-12pm, I would ask them to arrive at 10:15am which buys me time to setup and that’s not taking into account their time for changing into whatever outfit.
Should I wear this?: For the most part, particularly if it’s a test shoot, models will bring with them a slew of outfits to get your opinion on what you could potentially shoot. While it’s great to have options, you should have already reached a point where you’ve centralized what direction you’re hoping to take with the shoot before you’ve even stepped foot in the space.
You should be able to transition seamlessly from one look to the next. Don’t waste any time thinking “what should I do next?” because you’re the photographer and you’re technically in charge of the pace while still collaborating with the model on whether you’ve nailed a look and if it’s time to move on. I’m all about spontaneity but go in with at least a draft in your mind of what you’re looking to achieve.
Where is the…?: Do inventory of everything you think you’ll need and just when you think you’re ready, double check one more time. I’ve been short on stuff I’ve needed multiple times and I’ve had to improvised things on the go and ultimately not project the vibe as if I don’t know what I’m doing because I failed to prepare properly. It’s on me not on them.
Bring the jam!: Get yourself a portable bluetooth speaker. I personally use the Anker Soundcore Mini. I’m all about encouraging models to bring their own tunes to rock since it’s no surprise that music has the tendency to bring the best out of people. It’s all about them and in creating an environment where you’re likely to capture their true self. On top of that, music in my opinion works best in conjunction with the conversation you’re hopefully having as you shoot.